Planning season, spending season, planting season, the time for making plans and spending all the money is here.
To me, this is a fun part of the year. Even though I don’t always feel very good at it. Time for building things, fixing things from last year, maybe a few new inventions or ideas. But it also worries me. If I forget something, or put something off now, it has the potential to be financially devastating once the markets begin. Last year we did a pretty good job. Of course, there were a few things I wish we had done differently but those were the lessons. Something I believe I have written about before is how a farmer must live a double life. One here in the present, executing the plans, dealing with the everyday farm shenanigans and making decisions on what to do next. The other, weeks, months or even a year in the future. For instance, in order to have pigs at market weight at the beginning of this season. We had to put our sows in with the boar around the end of March, last year. With grass finished beef, since we aren’t set up to breed our own beef cattle, we purchase those six months to a year in advance. New laying hens must be purchased in October in order to have fresh eggs beginning around March. Then there is the normal garden planning and planting, which we skipped on all together last year since I changed jobs at the last second, but you get the idea. My wonderful wife, Jessica, as essentially took over the social media, website, emails, and helping keep track of inventory. So, this has helped me tremendously.
We have already began applying for some of our 2019 farmers markets. All the same ones we attended last year and a few new ones. If we get accepted into all the markets we apply for, this will take our farm to the next level. One we said 4 years ago we wanted to get to. I remember it like it was yesterday. Standing in the carport at our previous home where all this started. We had just sold most all the broilers my dad and I processed and packaged the day before, I told Jessica, in a few years, this could be how we make a living. That year was the first year we took our products to the farmers market. My dear friend Kim Crow Prince, who was then the manager of the local farmers market asked me if I was interested in joining the market and bringing our products to sell. We researched the idea. Got our paperwork in order and gave it a try. I could never show her enough appreciation for that simple inquiry, but I often try. That simple market attendance has spiraled into the rollercoaster we are on today. Thanks Kim, we love you. We hoped it would take us far. We didn’t know it would happen this fast.
On the farm things are going well, they are wet, muddy and cold, things are happening. This week we moved some sows over to be with “Timber” our Hereford boar. He has had a nice break for a few weeks, enjoying the finer things like, not sharing his food, peace and quiet, and his own bed. Now he has five girlfriends, that all know about each other, and I’m sure he doesn’t get to pick his spot in the hay pile. We are getting 1200 new laying hens that will get here the last week of February and we are planning our broiler production for the year. Our plan this year is to have most of our broilers processed at a USDA inspected facility owned by some fellow farmers and great friends of ours. This will allow us to produce and sell more chickens per group and hopefully add some chicken products to our list. We also plan on expanding our quail, rabbit and beef production as well.
More things are in the works each day, the wheels are turning, and we are picking up speed. Before we know it, it will be mid-July and we will wonder what happened to these months of planning and preparation.